England’s strategy has been worked out. A new attacking philosophy is being tested.

England was chastised at the outset of last summer for failing to pursue down a victory objective against New Zealand on the last day at Lord’s. According to some, the decision implied that England was a defensive, constrained team that lacked the ambition and aggression of the best teams. England may still be a limited squad in certain ways, but Joe Root’s bold final-day declaration in Antigua, as well as the manner his team threw everything at the West Indies, hinted at a new, more aggressive strategy.

Despite the fact that a docile pitch and superb batting from Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder stopped England from forcing a win, the fact that they went for it was a positive development. They may have squandered the final day by batting too long and therefore assuring a tie. England’s batters, on the other hand, batted aggressively in the first session, scoring 132 from 25 overs, allowing Root to declare soon before lunch. Although such a declaration did not result in a victory, such an attitude, if maintained by England, has a lot of long-term potential.

It was also the end of a good turnaround for England, who had been in serious difficulty at 48 for 4 on the first morning. The Test match appeared to be following the pattern of England’s recent disasters at that point, but by the end of the game, they were in command, with the West Indies clinging to a draw. The England captain was pleased by the captain’s determination and fight, which were sometimes absent during the Ashes.

Individually, there were some outstanding performances. Jonny Bairstow’s first-innings century, which he scored under duress, established his red-ball comeback, while Zak Crawley’s second Test century was a crucial inning for a young player who had been struggling. Jack Leach, meantime, had a fantastic game, playing an excellent holding position in the first innings before attacking with three wickets on the last day. During the Ashes, good performances were few and far between, so this was another step forward.